Russia May Sign Strategic Partnership Deal With Ukraine By End Of Year

MOSCOW, Russia -- Russia and Ukraine are considering signing a strategic partnership declaration before the end of the year, the Ukrainian ambassador to Russia said on Tuesday.

Ukrainian ambassador to Russia Volodymyr Yelchenko.

"We want this to take place before the end of this year, during a high profile meeting," Volodymyr Yelchenko said.

The new deal is due to replace the 1997 Russian-Ukrainian bilateral agreement on friendship, cooperation and partnership.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and his Ukrainian counterpart, Kostyantyn Hryshchenko, will discuss the document during talks on September 16 in Moscow, Yelchenko said.

The ministers will also discuss the Russian Navy base in Crimea.

On April 21, Moscow and Kiev agreed to extend the lease on a Russian naval base in the Crimea in exchange for a 30% cut in gas prices for Ukraine.

The lease agreement extends Russian naval presence in the port of Sevastopol for 25 years after the current lease expires in 2017, and may be further extended by another five years.

Source: RIA Novosti